Sunday, January 31, 2010

Welcome February

Woah, where did January go? Here we are, new banner in tow, in a new month that promises to be packed with festivities, DIY antics and wedding talk. Besides that, this is supposed to be the month where Fergs finally gets to take a break after a back-breaking last few months working on his TV program. Key word here is supposed.

So to start off with a bang, our colourboards are coming up in a matter of hours. Cheers and stay tuned!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

What is a colourboard?

It's only just come to my attention that one of the nifty things wedding designers do is to come up with colourboards. Athalia's been talking about colourboards for weeks and so I've gone into some of these wedding blogs, picked my way through all the gown-gown posts and hunted down what these colourboards are ... and my word, they're fun!

They're these little colour panels, and you typically choose about two to five of them to make an attractive colour combination, and then dictate with the will of Mao and the voice of Churchil that everything that crawls within one mile of your wedding needs to be "in brand" with your colourboard. Put differently, everybody adheres to the theme.

And they have the sweetest names for their colours. You won't find no "Blue" or "Green" in this subculture, no, instead you get colour names like "Liquorice" and "Pecan". I absolutely love it.

Man: What colour is your car?
Fergus: Aloe.

How cool is that? Okay maybe not aloe. But so excited was I, I immediately leapt into the mighty task of making one myself without realising that across town, Athalia was doing the same. She even went one up on me, having put together an "inspiration board". Whoa whoa wait. There's the colourboard right? Then what's an inspiration board? And why don't I know any of these things?

It turns out, an inspiration board something like a collection of photos that you find and put together as an illustration of what all your wedding photos would look like if you stuck to your colourboard. Or what they won't look like if you dictated it with the will of Louis XVI and the voice of Prince Sihanouk.

I swear, I have been living under a shell.

And so, in the very near future, we shall be posting our boards. And that's where you come in - your comments on which boards you prefer can and may nudge our decision. Keep coming back readers. We absolutely love you.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Wednesday Wedding Watch: Week 28

Welcome to our Wednesday Wedding Watch!

We've decided to start a weekly wedding countdown, because isn't it a great idea to make this whole project more stressful? It'll be posted on Wednesdays because I like alliterating words, and it's basically a summary of the ground we've covered in the past week.

So as you can see, there are 28 more weeks to go. (Unless our application gets rejected.) And what have we done so far? Well it so happens that it can be summed up nicely in three Bs:

Budget - I came up with this exercise where Fergs and I each filled up a budget separately, then we compared amounts. Guess what? We're within RM500 of each other! There's still some fat to trim, but at least we've got a rough one down.

Boards - You can call them colourboards, inspiration boards or mood boards. Fergs has two whole posts on this so hang on tight for that in a very short while.

Blow - Not the drug kind, the kind that makes you want to cry. The photographer I had set my heart on isn't available. I love her style, but she'll be out of the country. I know there are other alternatives, but I need a bit of time to mourn. Then I'll get back on my feet and start hunting again.

So that wraps this week's Wednesday Wedding Watch. See you in seven days!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

DIY Project - Painting our home office white

The stage is our future home office. The concept is all white. And the protagonists are two buckets of white paint. The one at the back is a cheap industrial-style ceiling paint with fumes that can supposedly kill household pets. That one got me into some trouble with the lady (she didn't like the idea of cheap fumey paint), but the paint in front is Nippon's stain-resistant wall paint with a low-sheen. I mean, this paint is said to withstand all sorts of soiling, from food stains to crayons. And I'd like to think that nothing in the world makes a woman happier than a man's awareness of future parenthood.

With our white paint and trusty brushes in perky anticipation, next up was prepping the home office for all that glorious mess.

First, we had to sand down all the bumps on the walls. You never really think of doing this, but if you're initiated and neurotic enough, you will want a wall smooth enough to run your hands over without losing any of your fingers. And for that, a medium-to-high grade of sandpaper will do the trick.

Next was taping up the edges of our electric switches and door frames. You want to make sure it's all taped neatly so that you can be a bit careless when you paint around the edges, get the paint all the way in and still keep your fixtures looking clean. Just peel off the tape when the paint is dry.

While all this was happening on my trusty front, Athalia got busy filling up all the window edges and holes in the walls with wall filler. Getting your own scraper will be a good idea - it works better than the little ones that come with the filler. It also helps if you've got a nimble touch - which I don't. See that maneouvre in the picture? Those are the hands of a Phoenician demigoddess.

Instead, I put my love for climbing ladders to good use and removed the fluorescent lights on the wall. This allows us to paint beneath it. It also allows us to remove all traces of fluoro lights far, far from our study room, the Almighty be praised. Note that one would be ill-advised to do this at night. After that, it was just a matter of borrowing some putty from the Phoenician and patching up the cavity around the wires.

Just before we start painting, I protect the modesty of our ceiling fan with the daily news. It turns out that the industrial ceiling paint wasn't very drippy (nor fumey), but you can never count on this. Ceiling fans soiled with paint splatter are irritating to look at. Ok. We're neurotic. No, not true - you need to do these things. You need to be a bit neurotic.

Only then can you start painting - the whole thing takes a grand total of three coats, which was one more than planned. A patchy second coat led to some corrective work on certain areas, which made the ceiling look like an albino dalmatian in the snow. The wall paint, however, turned out to be a lot easier to use. It was runnier, and glided all over the walls faster. You could say it was almost blissful painting the walls after painting the ceiling.

And so it was. Our spanking white room, whose white concept we shall further unveil in the coming days and weeks. We both like the low sheen of the wall paint. It's got a sophistication that most matte finishes want to have when they grow up. Yes, we dig it.

Now, all that's left is cleaning up the mess. Aah... more work. And more rooms. And more walls. And ceilings. This is going to be a very long project.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Fergus goes shopping - emerges with hacksaw

Ha! I can see from the twinkle in your eye and sentimental countenance that you've been seduced by the woman's - my future bride's - talk of all things wedding. Well, if you've wondered what happened to all the grey sand, construction dust and fit foreign workers, wonder no more, for we have but scratched its surface.

Yes, for it was one of the 17th century philosophers who said "Renovation is for wimps, but DIY, the yardstick of a man". And with that dubious maxim out of the way, let us rummage through my eco-friendly shopping bag and see what grisly things the bear brought in.

3 paint rollers
2 roller handles
1 extendable pole
1 one-inch paintbrush
1 two-inch paintbrush
1 paint-mixing tray
1 hacksaw
1 extra blade for hacksaw
1 tub of wall filler
2 sheets of sandpaper
1 L ruler
2 pairs of gardening gloves
10 x 1.4 meters of plastic sheet

There - that just made me feel so man, my shirt ripped involuntarily and my chest grew hair.

Of course, you're thinking that this Fergus chap is a really daft stud, cos he's forgotten the most important ingredient of them all - the paint. Aha. I haven't forgotten about the paint. I just haven't decided which tone of white to buy. And though Athalia has less of an opinion than I do on the different hues of white, I'll be hauling her out nonetheless this weekend to shop for white paint, if only for the appearance of democracy, or my name shall not be Fergus Ong, Defender of Democratic Processes, Purveyor of Equal Rights Among Soon-To-Be-Married Home Reconstructionists.

Athalia: But you don't even believe in democracy.
Fergus: Hmmm...
Athalia: You're a communist. You carry a Cultural Revolution bag.
Fergus: That's more to do with vanity than politics, but you're right.
Athalia: Your decision on what tone of white to buy should be pushed through by sheer force of political will.
Fergus: True.
Athalia: Was it not Mao himself who said that such power ought to come from the barrel of a gun?
Fergus: You are so hot right now, seriously.
Athalia: Why thank you.
Fergus: You're welcome.

So, as you can see, great days loom ahead for our ragtag home, with eager hands and a bit more free time carving up some room in our lives to get back into housework again. Onwards, march!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

First jitters

So our application is in and the next step is to bite our nails until the church confirms our booking. In an effort to save our nails we'll try and distract ourselves with designing our save-the-dates and hitting this wedding gown place - the same one Liz went to. Just to take a look and get ideas.

Now that concrete steps have finally been taken, I suddenly feel nervous with the realisation that it is really happening. I. Am. Getting. Married. My heart is literally pounding as I write this - I'm scared and a little overwhelmed and am resisting the urge to run off and find distractions instead of facing up to the huge mountain labeled “Wedding” that seems to have materialised overnight like a giant beanstalk in the formerly quiet backyard called My Life. It’s getting crowded you know, because I already have the mountains “Preparing for marriage” and “Setting up house” there.

Writing all this down here helps. I know that I have the tendency to succumb to anxiety spells, so I’m trying to pre-empt and minimise them. I’ve always said that I don’t want organising my wedding to become an all-encompassing, all-consuming and all-stressing task. Fergs has said before, “I just want to get married.” In the end, the wedding is the means to that.

(But I still want a nice wedding.)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Operation get married (finally) kick-starts

All right people, we've gotten into first gear. We filled up the application forms last night and dropped it off the church office to get the recommendation parts filled up. Yes, we really submitted that doodle. Most importantly, the date we've picked is 14 August 2010. It's a very special date for Fergus and I, didn't you know? Lemme tell you the very romantic story why.

(That's a drum roll, though I suppose a violin serenade would work better.)

Actually, it's the only date that works after we take into account a grooms man's holiday, other friends getting married, the CLP examinations, Birmingham University exams and a baby's due date. Please be impressed.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Second birthday of the year

The second birthday celebrated this year was the first birthday for the first grandchild in his family. That makes it a very momentous occasion yes? So we had a cosy celebration in the house over a long, late tea that went all the way past dinner. Also, there was ice-cream cake, which may just be the best kind of cake there is. Unless you don't like ice-cream.

Funny bits to remember: the frenzied paparazzi session that erupted before the ice-cream cake came out - Fergus has pictures of half the family kneeling with cameras/phones outstretched in front of the bemused-looking babe - and how everyone was way more excited over opening presents than the recipient. I mean, why wouldn't fully-grown humans get excited over bath toys, baby Gap shirts and cute, tiny footwear? Plus there were cats kittens a plenty. Lots of 'em. Fatin is practically conditioned to grow up loving cats.

Presents everywhere!

How many cats can you count?

Part of the paparazzo.

Gratuitous food shot.

On a personal note, I hand-made part of our gift, which is something I haven't done properly in ages, and the rush it gave me made me consider why not. I've decided I want to craft more, and when I got back I stayed up to clear out my table and some shelves to make space for inspiration and materials.

Here's to more creative endeavors this year.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

First birthday of the year

(Yesterday, at The Gardens)

I always enjoy his family's birthday dinners - they really, really know how to do one nicely. The routines of candle-lighting, song-singing, cake-cutting and present-opening get elevated by a fresh sense of excitement and love every single time.

Here's to a whole year of birthdays ahead.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Moleskins for 2010!

So it's five days into the new year and we still haven't posted. In the blogging world, that must be a sin commensurate to coveting thine neighbour's wife cattle. But here we are, back in the business of skipping down the meadowed lane, laughing with the birds and...


We got Moleskins!

Yes, as part of our annual fees to retain membership in the Klangvalley Uppity Yuppie Twentysomethings Society (KUYTS), Athalia and I went out and bought ourselves not one but two Moleskin diaries each. Yes, it promises to be a good year. A well-tracked year. A year full of entries of where we dined, what we bought and who we met as we chart the glamourous worl...

Athalia: Fergus, what's that?
Fergus: It's my Moleskin post. You like the picture? I photoshopped it so that-
Athalia: Chart the glamourous world? What glamourous world?
Fergus: Heh heh.
Athalia: We're penniless.
Fergus: You're exaggerating. I have some coins in the car.
Athalia: Look, now your post has no focus. You're supposed to be blogging about how we've resolved this year to keep devotional journals that we use to write sermon notes and quiet time doodles and how your efforts last year, albeit ultimately half-baked, have inspired us to reach greater heights in our shared dream to finish an unbroken year of journalling.
Fergus: You took the words right out of my mouth.
Athalia: -_-
Fergus: No, seriously, I was going to say exactly that in the next paragraph.
Athalia: -_-
Fergus: You're not amused right?
Athalia: I've got a fever. And you're writing nonsense. What do you think?
Fergus: I think I better write a proper post.
Athalia: A wise choice.

(clears throat)

Okay guys. We got Moleskin diaries. We're gonna be journalling this year. Awesome. Yeah. Cool. Way cool. Resplendent. Yeah.

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